[EM] Time of trouble - Premise 2

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Mar 4 12:20:46 PST 2009

--- On Wed, 4/3/09, Michael Allan <mike at zelea.com> wrote:

> > > ...  Are there any strong reverse
> mechanisms, or blocks, that
> > > would be likely to prevent a quorum?
> > 
> > - Having too many too uninteresting
> >   elections
> > 
> > - Having several competing IT systems
> > 
> > - The opposite of novelty, getting
> >   bored with the system
> > 
> > - Involvement of party and other
> >   plotting
> > 
> > - Fights between individuals (e.g. on
> >   whose proposal will be voted on)
> > 
> > - Unclarity and fights on the results
> >   achieved with th IT systems
> > 
> > - Low quality of proposals and
> >   discussions
> > 
> > - Fears related to presenting one's
> >   opinion in a public vote
> > 
> > - Complexity of the system
> > 
> > - Lack of time (maybe people use their
> >   time and IT technology for other
> uses
> >   like playing games and voting in
> >   reality TV programs)
> > 
> > - Lack of expertise (in many areas the
> >   regular people are not experts and
> do
> >   not want to start studying the topic
> >   / proposed norm)
> None of these seems a *probable* block.  Do you
> disagree?  Which seems
> probable?

Several cents might make a dollar.
There are many small problems that
together may make the system fall
short of the planned ideal state.

One can also claim that this has
happened with the current systems.

If I have to pick some of the
listed problems, maybe having
several competing IT systems would
make them all short of being THE
voice of the people. People may
also easily get bored and lose
interest if there are too many
elections and debates and problems
when compared to the true achieved
benefits and clear outcomes.

(In another mail I drafted one
system that makes use of the
existing town/city councils.
That is interesting from such
point of view that when doing
so we will make use of a group
of citizens that is interested
in politics and is happy to
openly present their opinions
and is one step closer to the
regular people one step more
difficult to "buy" than the
national level politicians.)

> Assume single winner.  When you say "their own
> candidates", you imply
> the party has a primary, the membership reaches a decision,
> and the
> party endorses a particular candidate.
> Meanwhile, there's a continuous cross-party primary going
> on.  We
> already premise PD(o), in the question.  So we have a
> cross-party
> primary with a quorum of voters.  Any decisive victory
> in the primary
> will carry over into the general election - the winner
> being elected
> to office.
> You say the party is not opposed to PD(o).  So its
> members must be
> simultaneously voting in the cross-party primary. 
> They are obedient
> to the party (at least initially), and they vote for the
> candidate
> that was officially endorsed.  Between the time of
> that endorsement,
> and the general election, one of two things will
> happen.  The endorsed
> candidate will either rise or fall in the subsequent
> voting.
> No matter which, but consider: the party members are voting
> *twice*,
> in two primaries (party and cross-party).  It will be
> natural for them
> to wish to economize, and to reduce this to a single vote,
> in a single
> primary.  If we follow this line of reasoning, which
> the fact of PD(o)
> opens up, then I believe we'll have to conclude that party
> primaries
> are in danger of extinction.  What would happen then,
> to the parties?

There may be three elections. First
the party primary, then the IT based
unofficial opinion formation, and
finally the actual election.

People often need advice on how to
vote (or support of their friends
and affiliation group). Their "own"
party could be the home base they
are looking for. People may like
to vote for "our candidate".

It is not necessary that all party
supporters vote in the party primary,
as long as the party can somehow
nominate its candidate in some
credible way.

My point is that it may not be
possible to get rid of party like
opinion forming entities that to
some extent can claim to represent
people with similar views on the
society. Whatever the system and
number of voting rounds, they will
influence in spots that are most
relevant to them. In the future it
could be e.g. the IT elections.

> > What makes the ability of one
> > of the millions of citizens to
> > influence so strong in the IT
> > system? I'm sure there will be
> > competition also in the new
> > system, just like there are
> > problems in the old system to
> > make the politicians approve
> > what one individual proposes
> > to some of them.
> I think the crucial thing is visibility of assent.  In
> RD, a typical
> person's assent - agreement to one course of action, over
> another - is
> not visible to other people.  The IT would make it
> visible.

Yes, we can always improve the
visibility, openness etc. There
will however always be lots of
competition on whose voice will
be heard and followed, and there
are no easy ways to make oneself
heard by all.

> > Public IT systems could make campaigns
> > against companies with unwanted
> > behaviour more efficient than they are
> > today since distribution of the idea
> > would be more efficient.
> (This is a big topic.  What are the effects of PD in
> non-political
>  spheres, such as in the economy, and in culture? 
> Translated into
>  these spheres, what are the equivalents of DD?)

The effects may be quite similar
in both cases. The decisions are
informal and they could as well be
either "candidate x is best" or
"the behaviour of company x is
unethical". People may follow
these recommendations in official
elections or in their purchasing
decisions. As already noted, some
limits could be set on forming
opinions on private citizens.

> > We can compare the new system also to the
> > current system with free speech, polls,
> > letters to the editor, discussion lists in
> > the Internet etc. It is not too easy to say
> > what the crucial new thing that makes the
> > difference is. Maybe the emergence of a
> > global (or nationally) dominant easy to use
> > and well organized IT system would make a
> > difference?
> I think the crucial thing is the public awareness (and
> self-awareness)
> that comes of formal assent.  Everything hinges on the
> voting method.
> If we give people a method that's as natural and ubiquitous
> as
> speaking, then, like speech, it is a social medium. 
> But the running
> sum of individual votes in this medium amounts to a
> willfully
> sustained and self-moderated consensus (or
> dissensus).  In other
> words, it amounts to the deliberate voice of a people.

I agree that a "free" polling system
that makes use of new capabilities of
the IT would refresh the political and
media space. That system will have very
similar problems in how to make the
voice of the citizens heard as the
current systems have, but the new IT
may help us a bit to bet a new fresher
start on the centuries old questions.

One reason why this kind of new
initiatives are needed is that the
world is getting more global, and the
voice of one individual is getting
smaller at the same speed. Global
processes need global (or national)
balancing voices from the people to
maintain a good balance of different
forces. In a village decisions are
often easy to make (not always). In
big communities we need more formal
methods, or more IT assisted methods
to make the society work well enough.

My topmost thought after this round
of opinion exchange is that the top
benefit of the new possible systems
when compared to the old ones is the
ability to collect the opinions more
efficiently using IT. That will not
make party like structures disappear
but may change their nature (to
respect the true opinions of the
citizens more).



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